Having announced that it will commission an independent media review, the Australian Government has today released the terms of reference for it, and that it will have some overlap with the Convergence Review that is also underway.

The inquiry will be conducted independently of Government, led by former Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, Ray Finkelstein QC, with the assistance of Dr Matthew Ricketson, Professor of Journalism at Canberra University.

The media inquiry's terms of reference

The independent panel will inquire into and report on:

  • The effectiveness of the current media codes of practice in Australia, particularly in light of technological change that is leading to the migration of print media to digital and online platforms;
  • The impact of this technological change on the business model that has supported the investment by traditional media organisations in quality journalism and the production of news, and how such activities can be supported, and diversity enhanced, in the changed media environment;
  • Ways of substantially strengthening the independence and effectiveness of the Australian Press Council, including in relation to on-line publications, and with particular reference to the handling of complaints;
  • Any related issues pertaining to the ability of the media to operate according to regulations and codes of practice, and in the public interest.

What happens next?

We know the review panel must report to the Government by 28 February 2012. It will also have to work with the Convergence Review committee to ensure that findings are incorporated into the ultimate report of the Convergence Review by the end of March 2012.